Varsity workers, under the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Educational Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU); have threatened to shut down academic activities in the University system nationwide over the issue of Earned Allowances and sacked workers of University Staff Schools.
Rising from the meeting of Joint Action Committee (JAC) of NASU and SSANU, in Abuja on Thursday, the workers gave the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum to address the issues in contention or force them to immediately commence a nationwide strike.
Already, the unions have directed all their branches in the Universities across the country to resume nationwide protest in all the universities from Tuesday next week.
In a circular jointly issued by the unions to all their branches after the JAC meeting warned that at the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum, if the Federal Government failed to address all their grievances, they would be left with no other option than withdrawing their services and shutting down the universities.
In the circular, titled “Notice of Industrial Action”, which was signed by the Chairman of JAC and President of SSANU, Comrade Samson Ugwoke and the General Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi, the two unions lamented the non-challant attitude of the Federal Government towards addressing their grievances and obeying court judgment.
The circular read, “This is to inform you that the Joint Action Committee, JAC of NASU and SSANU met today, Thursday 1st August, 2019, to consider the issues which led to the Nationwide protest in our various branches, viz, Payment of Earned Allowances, University Staff Schools matter, Renegotiation of 2009 FGN/Unions Agreement among others. After extensive deliberations, JAC further observed that:
“No date has been rescheduled by the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Senator Ahmed Lawan for the meeting with the leadership of JAC national.
“The meeting earlier scheduled by the Federal Ministry of Education with the leadership of JAC national has been rescheduled for Wednesday, August 7, 2019 with no reason(s) stated.”
The circular stated that from the foregoing, JAC national has resolved: “That a 14-Day ultimatum of Industrial action be given to the Federal Government of Nigeria to address the pending issues with effect from Monday,5th August, 2019. During the period of the ultimatum, all branches are hereby directed to carry out peaceful protest on Tuesday, 6th August, 2019 and Thursday, 15th August,2019 respectively.”
It added: “At the expiration of the 14-days ultimatum, Sunday 18th August 2019, without any positive response from the Federal Government of Nigeria, members shall proceed on a 5-day warning strike in all branches from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd August, 2019, inclusive.
“You are therefore directed to properly mobilize our members for this action. All defaulting branches shall be sanctioned accordingly.”
The two unions had on July 12 directed members to embark on peaceful protest in their various branches to draw the attention of government over some unresolved matters.
According to a communique issued at the end of the JAC, “The meeting in Session rejected the sharing formula adopted by the Federal Ministry of Education in the allocation of the last tranche of N25 Billion which allocated 80% to ASUU and a paltry 20% to the Non- Teaching unions.
“It was noted that the procedure of allocating monies meant for staff emoluments and allowances across union lines is totally alien to best practices and is a contravention of financial processes.
“NEC in Session observed that the sharing formula defies all logical explanation and does not reflect the proper status of payment of Earned Allowances for Non- Teaching Staff in our Universities and Inter-University Centres.
“NEC in session also observed that while the outstanding claims of Earned Allowances to ASUU may have been settled till 2012 and part- payment up to 2016 inclusive, the payment of Non- Teaching Staff between 2009 and 2012 have not been resolved, talk- less of up till 2016.”
The unions also frowned at the inability of the Federal Government to obey the judgment of the National Industrial Court that ordered the reinstatement of workers in the Staff Schools.